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Time-to-Value Reimagined: Optimizing Commercial Cloud-native Solutions with the Intel Network Platform

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Building on 20+ years of silicon innovation in cloud computation

In the late ’90s, Intel shook up the industry by launching the Intel® Xeon® line of processors with Pentium II Xeon®. This line was the first silicon entirely dedicated to cloud computing. Since then, more than 25 iterations of Intel Xeon processors, with incredible gen-on-gen performance, have supported the virtualization of core networks. I’m excited to say that, today, our eyes are on the virtualization of the RAN, the cloudification of the edge, and the inevitable shift to cloud-native technologies.

Eighty percent of core network server installations are expected to be virtualized by 2024.1 We’re anticipating 75 percent of enterprise data will be moved to the edge by 2025.2 And fully cloud-native networks built on Kubernetes as the de facto standard for orchestration are increasingly being deployed. It’s clear that no time can be wasted on the path to commercialization and market-scale enablement.

Communications service providers (CoSPs) need flexible, multi-vendor solutions built specifically to operate in these new environments, enabling rapid time-to-market and assured services delivery across a range of deployment models and use cases. Telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need early access to architecture and cloud-native innovations to accelerate product readiness and productization—and solutions deployment at scale.

A comprehensive technology foundation to accelerate time-to-market

The Intel Network Platform delivers a technology foundation that reduces development complexity, speeds time-to-market, and enables customers and partners to unlock the power of Intel products. This foundation offers a complete set of software building blocks, instructional Experience Kits, and system-level Network and Cloud-Edge Reference Architectures designed to meet customers’ varied needs at every stage of the development, production, and commercialization process. In other words, it provides CoSPs and manufacturers with the hardware and software they need to optimize their networks, educational guides, and a portfolio of Kubernetes-based blueprints to bring it all together in real life.

The Intel Network Platform includes software building blocks designed to support vRAN and FlexRAN deployments, Open Visual Cloud, cable, and more. Our software works in combination with hardware, including Intel® 3rd Gen Xeon®  Scalable processors and Intel® Xeon®  D processors, Intel® Server GPU, Intel® Ethernet Controller, and Intel® QuickAssist Technology. These software and hardware building blocks enable automation, orchestration, high packet performance, security, compression, observability, and sustainability. Simply put, combining these software solutions with Intel technologies offers a fast path to optimizing network environments for a range of use cases.

We’ve also developed Experience Kits that offer best-practice architecture and development guidelines for Intel Network Platform addressable technologies. Think of the kits as playbooks to building next-generation, open, agile, and efficient networks. Using the kits, manufacturers and CoSPs can evaluate and integrate the platform capabilities they need for service delivery from the network edge to core. The Network and Cloud-Edge Reference Architectures bring together, integrate, and validate the addressable technologies—providing a consumable template solution that serves as a recipe for optimized deployments based on Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Xeon D processors.

Intel considered many variables in creating the Network and Cloud-Edge Reference Architectures and the supporting Experience Kits, including private, public, and multi-cloud deployment models, as well as diverse deployment needs for vertical workloads by location from edge to cloud. In the development of these assets, we accounted for the full breadth of our hardware and software portfolio to ensure customers and partners could achieve the maximum value.

We’ve published the Bare Metal Reference Architecture (BMRA), one of our Network and Cloud Edge Reference Architectures, on the Intel Network Builders site. This includes guidance on optimized hardware and software components configurations to achieve efficiencies in cloud-native networks. The BMRA is designed for Kubernetes deployments in an automated environment with 2nd Generation and Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable platforms and related technologies. It is a complete, forward-looking blueprint for deploying new technologies at scale across environments and use cases. We will discuss it, and our contributions to other Kubernetes projects designed to further open cloud innovation, at the KubeCon + CloudNative North America 2021 event.

Tap into an open platform for collaboration, innovation, and marketization

I’m proud of the work we're doing with the Intel Network Platform to deliver a comprehensive and open platform for industry collaboration and innovation. Completely customizable to meet customer and partner needs at any point in their journey—this foundation accelerates the development and commercialization of the technologies needed to fuel network transformation, such as open platforms, virtualized infrastructure, containers, and cloud-native practices, or a combination.

At Intel, we’re innovating the most complete set of network technologies for the industry to build on. We want our customers and partners to get as much value as possible out of them for the next 25 iterations and beyond.

Learn more about how the Intel Network Platform can help you go to market and change the technology landscape faster at the Intel® Network Builders University.

  1. Dell’Oro, 2020, https://www.delloro.com/market-research/telecommunications-infrastructure/mobile-core-network/

  2. Gartner Forecast, 2018. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/what-edge-computing-means-for-infrastructure-and-operations-leaders.

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About the Author
Brian Aherne is a Senior Director, Network Platform Product Management at Intel Corporation. Brian joined Intel in 2001 and has held various technical and business roles. Brian is passionate about the connected world, delivering platforms for innovative business solutions where networking and computing converge. Brian holds a BSc Applied Computing from Waterford Institute of Technology.